Technological fields of action

H2.B and the partners of the hydrogen alliance have identified technological fields of action for the Bavarian hydrogen economy. These are of paramount importance for a future H2 economy and are to be developed jointly in the Bavarian strategy process. The fields of action must be linked and jointly developed in a technology-open way. This is the only way to create efficient value chains for the German industry.

The production of “sustainable H2″ has to be implemented on an industrial scale. “Sustainable H2” refers to the production of hydrogen without releasing fossil CO2 emissions. Hydrogen can be produced by electrolysis of water with renewable electricity, but also by the conversion of biomass, the reforming of biogas or the thermal splitting of natural gas with subsequent storage of the carbon-containing by-products. Activities will be focused on the development and scaling of electrolysis plants and the identification of the optimal technologies for different local conditions. The demonstration under different conditions will help to draw conclusions with regards to the challenge of scaling. Within the framework of international partnerships, the operation of plants from Bavarian production abroad is aimed at – ideally with the aim of using the hydrogen in Bavaria in the long term.

Logistics technologies for hydrogen play a key role since H2 production in preferential regions requires the transport of hydrogen over long distances. Logistics technologies should make use of existing infrastructures such as gas pipelines or existing tank farms, tank vehicles and filling stations, wherever possible, in order to keep the costs of the future hydrogen economy as low as possible. It is essential to transport the hydrogen produced with the lowest possible loss and at low cost over long distances in order to combine low-cost, green generation points with high-quality applications. For all logistics applications, many partners have to cooperate: the bearer of technological expertise, plant manufacturers, local authorities and many others. The establishment of standards is crucial for resilient business models of H2 users based on logistics applications. In particular, international coordination is also necessary at an early stage in order to enable future international trade as cost-effectively as possible.

H2 applications are particularly interesting in the mobility and industrial sectors. Thereby, large CO2 saving potentials can be realized by using hydrogen. However, there are still challenges to be mastered in terms of availability of products and plants and, in some cases, also in terms of economic efficiency. In the long term, there are also great potentials in the building (heat) and energy (seasonal storage) sectors. The key to the economic use of hydrogen in these areas is the coordination with the  “H2 production” and “H2 logistics” and a global perspective. After all, the most cost-effective supply of hydrogen is essential for the economic viability of the business models. It is particularly important to bring technological expertise together with the user. This can involve companies, but also private users who benefit from hydrogen solutions but who do not have the necessary expertise themselves.

Challenges of economic efficiency are to be solved in particular by industrial production of key components of a future H2 economy. Electrolysers, fuel cells and hydrogen storage systems are still built in small quantities. A breakthrough will be achieved based on a markedly more efficient series production and the corresponding progress in specific production technologies. Therefore, an important strategic concern is also the establishment and expansion of research and development infrastructures, e.g. for testing low-cost production processes for fuel cell components. However, confidence in future product sales is also crucial. To this end, it is essential to identify applications in which the use of H2 is already close to economic viability and to stimulate demand by means of large-scale use of products, e.g. in the public sector.